Q&A with Our Lincoln Hygienist
Do you need “family dentistry near me” with caring hygienists in Lincoln? Our Lincoln hygienist is a crucial part of our compassionate dental team in helping educate patients about dental procedures. In addition, our hygienist kindly educates patients about the connection between a healthy mouth and their overall health. Meet our wonderful Lincoln hygienist, Kara. In her article she’ll cover:
-Do dentists use silver fillings anymore? Our Lincoln dentists do not. Kara, our Lincoln Hygienist, explains why.
-Can you have a cavity under a filling? Kara has the answer. You might be surprised.
-What can cause halitosis?Our Lincoln, NE dental hygienist says there are many things that can cause bad breath.
Kara is passionate about helping her patients feel comfortable in her care while providing simple dental cleanings or deep cleanings for the treatment of periodontal disease. Kara believes that healthy mouth goes hand in hand with a healthy body.
Kara is passionate about educating patients in a non-judgmental manner by providing education. Furthermore, Kara will not ever nag you. Today she answers some of the most common questions that patients ask.
What kind of services do Lincoln hygienists offer?
Kara: You can find hygienists in all sorts of different kinds of practices and can also find hygienists that working for public health practices. Our Lincoln hygienists can do cleanings, educate about common dental conditions and treat periodontal disease.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Do your Lincoln dentists place amalgam fillings?
Kara: No, we do not. Amalgam fillings act more as a wedge in the tooth to fill in the cavity, whereas white fillings bond specifically to the tooth. Over time, silver fillings start to break down, corrode, and pull away from the tooth, which can cause leaks and cracks that harbor bacteria and cause more decay.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: I’ve heard that people can develop cavities under their fillings. Is this true?
Kara: Absolutely. The hardest areas to keep clean in our mouths are between the teeth. This is the most common area to get decay on a tooth. When bacteria stays between the teeth, it can start to eat away at the tooth, especially underneath an old filling. When recurrent decay happens, it’s a good idea to remove the new cavity and replace the filling.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Are certain teeth more important than others?
Kara: All of our teeth function together to provide us with a stable bite, strong chewing function, facial symmetry and aesthetic smile. Some of the most critical teeth for chewing and stabilizing our bite are our first molars. Our first molars erupt when we are six years old. These molars are our important chewing teeth, as they take about 80% of our grinding forces. It’s very important to replace missing six-year molars to avoid putting more pressure on their surrounding teeth. This can cause those teeth to crack and break, which can result in losing multiple teeth. Your Lincoln hygienist can talk with you about any teeth you have that may require crowns to avoid fracture.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Can we place crowns over six-year molars?
Kara: Absolutely. The first molars in our teeth are the workhorses of the mouth. We put about 80% of our chewing forces on these teeth. Having a large filling on these teeth make them more prone to cracking or breaking. In situations where they break, a great option is to place a crown over them, which is essentially a hard protective shell over the tooth that makes it stronger and prevents cracking.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What is cracked tooth syndrome?
Kara: Teeth take a lot of biting forces in our mouth. Anytime a tooth has a large filling, it becomes weaker. Since it can’t withstand the biting forces like it used to, the tooth can begin to crack. If that crack grows over time, it can eventually reach the nerve of the tooth, causing a discomfort when biting down. You should consider protect an early crack using a crown. We call this cracked tooth system.
A cracked tooth may lead to a severe toothache upon chewing.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Receding gums are really common. Any tips for patients with receding gums?
Kara: Being a Lincoln hygienist, I see lots of cases of receding gums. Using a hard bristled brush or brushing too hard can begin to brush away the gums, which causes the roots of our teeth to become exposed. When roots are exposed, they do not have that strong outer layer of enamel to protect against cavities, making it an easier area for decay to occur.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What about clenching or grinding teeth?
Kara: Grinding happens during stressful periods in our lives when we are sleeping or awake. Grinding or clenching can hurt the teeth causing wear on the top and loss of enamel, exposing the second and more sensitive layer of our teeth. An excellent way to protect teeth from grinding at night is to wear a night guard.
Grinding puts a lot of pressure on our teeth. When this happens, extra pressure is placed on existing fillings, especially silver ones. The silver fillings tend to expand and contract over time. This along with grinding can cause the silver filling to break away from the tooth, leaving a crack for bacteria to trap down in and cause recurrent decay.
For grinders, we offer a custom-made night guard that is affordably priced at $75
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What’s an excellent solution for nighttime teeth grinding?
Kara: When we grind our teeth at night, it’s out of our control. A night guard is the top solution to prevent wearing away the teeth due tonight grinding. It does not stop the grinding process, but it provides a softer cushion for the teeth and allows them to wear the guard, rather than wear away the opposing teeth.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What does “super-eruption” mean?
Kara: Any time we are missing teeth, the surrounding teeth want to fill in that space, which causes them to shift. When missing a bottom molar, the tooth above it no longer has a tooth to bite against, causing it to come out of its pocket. This is called super-eruption and often results in the loss of that tooth. It is always a good idea to fill in that missing space with an implant to avoid this from happening.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: A lot of people chew ice. Can this hurt our teeth?
Kara: Chewing ice not only puts extreme pressure on our teeth but also an extreme temperature change. Similar to extreme immediate temperature change with glass, the tooth acts the same in response to the ice, causing it to break and crack easily. As a Lincoln hygienist, I recognize the dangers of ice-chewing, so it isn’t something I do.
Lots of people switch to e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Tell me a about your thoughts on that.
Kara: Tobacco and e-cigarettes can both cause harm to the body in many ways. They particularly hurt our gums. Smoking e-cigarettes or holding tobacco in the pockets of our mouth constantly places a chemical against our natural tissues, which can cause them to destruct. This can cause recession of the gums as well, where they start to pull away from the teeth and cause sensitivity. Nicotine raises our blood pressure, which can negatively impact our overall health.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: I’ve heard that chemotherapy is bad for a person’s oral health. Is that true?
Kara: Anytime we have radiation therapy or chemo, it causes damage to the cells in our body, particularly our mouths and the salivary glands. With this happening, our mouths can get very dry during and even months after treatment. One of the most natural defense methods against cavities is our saliva. Without adequate saliva flow in the mouth, we become more prone to cavities. It is important to keep the mouth sugar-free and as adequately hydrated as possible in these times. Drinking water, using Biotene mouth rinse or spray, and adding fluoride via prescription toothpaste or mouth rinse are the most helpful solutions.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What about probiotics? What’s the good in adding them to our diets?
Kara: Millions of bacteria, good and bad, are in our mouths at any given time. A good dental home-care routine will take care of the bad bacteria that reside in our mouth. Our Lincoln hygienists often talk with patients about the benefit of adding a good probiotic to their diet to help us attack the bad bacteria from the inside of our bodies. These both are then working together help to create a healthy body and immune system to protect against cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Anything else that you’d recommend adding to a diet?
Kara: Vitamin C is important in order to have a strong immune system to help our bodies fight against the bad bacteria, especially in our mouth where millions of bacteria harbor. Vitamin D is also especially important in the growth and development of bone and teeth, especially in children. For adults, vitamin D helps to support immune function. It can help our bodies fight against harmful bacteria and chronic inflammation.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: How do you feel about soda?
Kara: Sugary drinks can be very damaging to our teeth. This includes soda, juice, sports drinks, etc. These liquids contain sugars, which in excess is not only poor for our health but also our teeth. The sugars feed the bacteria that live in our mouth, which in turn causes them to eat away at our teeth. It is always a good idea to eat or drink sugary foods, in short, confined periods of time or not at all, rather than to sip on them all day long.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What’s halitosis?
Kara: Halitosis is bad breath, which can be caused by many different things. The foods we eat, tonsil stones, and not following excellent home care habits, such as daily brushing or flossing, can all attribute to bad breath. A good home care routine, especially brushing the tongue and rinsing with Listerine is the first step in fighting bad breath. Taking probiotics can help to change the flora, bacterial content in our mouth, leading to a better breath.
Also, replacing failing dental work can be an excellent treatment option for bad breath.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: A lot of our patients get cold sores. How do you recommend people treat them?
Kara: Cold sores show up at stressful times in our lives. Great treatment options, other than avoiding stress, is to place cold sore topical cream, such as Abreva and/or Lysine at the first sign of getting a cold sore.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What about canker sores?
Kara: Canker sores are similar. They can happen from stress, acidic foods, and drinks, or trauma in our mouths. An excellent choice for treatment is to rinse with warm salt water or Listerine. Likewise, if needed, place a topical anesthetic to relieve discomfort. If you frequently get multiple canker sores in your mouth, you should search for “family dentistry near me in Lincoln” and schedule an appointment. At this appointment, have a dentist check your mouth. In some cases, chronic canker sores are linked to vitamin deficiencies and autoimmune conditions.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What are “geographic tongue and black tongue?” And what’s the number one way to find oral cancer?
Kara: The cause of geographic tongue is unknown. It usually isn’t harmful and typically doesn’t cause any discomfort. It is important to keep the tongue very clean by brushing it gently and using a mouth rinse. People who have geographic tongue are likely to be sensitive to highly acidic foods like pineapple or citrus as well as spicy foods.
Oral cancer can be found mainly in the soft tissues in the mouth, especially the tongue and cheeks. It’s important to thoroughly examine the areas in the mouth of a patient who uses tobacco. Any tissue that appears irregular should bring up questions for the patient. How long has it been there? Does it cause discomfort? Does it change in size? Things like that.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What is TMD and what’s an excellent treatment option?
Kara: TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. It basically constitutes serious jaw discomfort and stiffness. A great treatment option for TMD is to simply “baby” the jaw. Don’t test to see if it still pops or bothers. Apply a warm washcloth or compress to the sore area while consistently taking ibuprofen for up to 10 days straight to reduce inflammation in the joint. It is good to avoid chewing gum or eating chewy foods during episodes of inflammation. If someone has a severe TMD case, they should consult an oral surgeon for possible reconstruction jaw surgery.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Someone recently told me that breathing through your mouth causes cavities. That can’t be true, can it?
Kara: Saliva is our greatest defense against cavities, and at night we don’t produce enough of it like we do during the day. When people breathe through their mouth at night, it makes the oral cavity dry, which allows for overgrowth of harmful bacteria. So yes, technically it does increase the likelihood of developing cavities.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Can allergies affect our teeth?
Kara: Allergies can cause a person’s sinuses to act up. Because sinuses are directly above our top teeth roots, sinus pressure can often place additional pressure on the teeth, creating a similar feeling to an abscessed tooth.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Why do gums bleed?
Kara: Bleeding gums are a major sign of gingivitis. Our gums should never bleed, and when they do, it is a sign of inflammation and bacteria trapped under our gums. Our bodies try to fight these bacteria by sending blood there, which is the reason they bleed easily.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Do we diagnose sleep apnea?
Kara: Not exactly, but sleep apnea happens when we aren’t getting the oxygen our brain needs in the middle of the night. Our airways are cut off and our breathing becomes sporadic. If someone feels tired throughout the day or is constantly waking themselves up at night due to snoring or not being able to breathe, these are possible signs of sleep apnea.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Lately coconut oil is a hot topic. How does it help to improve dental health?
Kara: Coconut oil pulling is becoming popular, especially with the rise in essential oils. Coconut oil has been found to have some anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, which could be a positive addition to your home-care routine.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: What is the cost for a dental cleaning at your office?
Kara: We take most dental insurances and all of them should cover simple dental cleanings at 100%.
For people without dental insurance, we offer Lincoln Dental Plans, that make dental cleanings a service at no charge to you.
CAQ to Lincoln hygienist: Last but not least, a classic question: How should a person handle sensitive teeth?
Kara: People can have sensitive teeth for many reasons. In this case, a great treatment option is to use a prescription toothpaste or sensitive toothpaste such as Sensodyne. It takes at least two weeks for Sensodyne to work, as it protects the dental tubules in our teeth from allowing outside substances to reach the nerve. In extreme sensitive cases, avoid any whitening products, as they can aid in added sensitivity.
The information on this page was written by Dr. Brooke Kittell.
This gentle Lincoln, NE dentists says: “I saw a lot of different dental specialists when I was young. My orthodontist changed my life by giving me the smile I am remembered by today. I love people, art, and making an impact. Once I discovered the potential impact a confident smile can make in someone’s life, dentistry became the only career that would allow me to maximize my creative skills while fulfilling my drive for helping others. Dentistry is about so much more than teeth, and the world is finally starting to acknowledge this. I am so excited to incorporate my background in Nutrition Science and my passion for overall well-being to provide the next level of care for my patients.”
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